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If Kings ever move on from Cousins, could be worth the risk


If Kings ever move on from Cousins, could be worth the risk

Outside of Kevin Durant next summer, there won't be a lot of young, vibrant, rising talent on the free-agent market. But keep a close eye what's happening with a team such as the Sacramento Kings, which seems to be imploding -- yet again -- with a team meeting to "air differences" and DeMarcus Cousins reportedly cursing out his coach this week.

Think Wizards coach Randy Wittman had a bad day after his rant about the lack of rebounding from his "supposed big men" in Tuesday's 125-101 embarrassment to the Oklahoma City Thunder that dropped them to 3-4? At least he's not Kings coach George Karl who appears headed for an early exit after he lobbied for a job he probably regrets getting now.

At some point, the Kings, 1-7 entering Wednesday night, could have a fire sale and blow up everything. Cousins, a 6-10 forward-center who can rebound with the best of them, get 20 points per game and stretches the floor to the three-point line, hasn't gotten them anywhere in his sixth season. 

It's doubtful that a team such as the Wizards, who value locker-room stability in light of the dysfunction that existed when they drafted John Wall at No. 1 overall in 2010, would be seriously interested if -- and that's a huge if -- Kings owner Vivek Ranadive opted to start over. 

But this is where a player like Cousins, who was a teammate of Wall's at Kentucky, can be had at a relative bargain if -- and that's a huge if -- Ranadive were to do so. Not a bad Plan B after Durant.

On a side note, condolences to Caron Butler. He was with the Wizards when the team was dismantled after the Gilbert Arenas gun incident in the locker room and now this. He went from winning a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 to a circus in his twilight years. He deserves better.

RELATED: Bradley Beal sets timetable for return to Wizards' lineup

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

With a luxury tax bill of approximately $19 million on the way, the Washington Wizards gave themselves some salary relief on Monday by trading veteran guard Jodie Meeks to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards attached a future second round pick and cash to the deal and in exchange received a future second round pick of their own, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. ESPN first reported the news.

Though Meeks, 31, was due to make $3.45 million this season, his departure saves the Wizards about $7 million because of projected tax penalties. That's a lot of savings in a deal that got rid of a player who had become expendable.

Meeks had fallen out of favor with the Wizards for a variety of reasons. He was due to serve a 19-game suspension to begin the season due to performance-enhancing drugs. The ban was announced the day before their first round playoff series against the Raptors was set to begin in April.

Meeks also underperformed last season in the first year of his contract with the Wizards and requested a trade in February. This summer, Meeks exercised his player option to remain with the team.

The Wizards were not likely to count on Meeks much at all this season because they traded for Austin Rivers in June to add depth at the shooting guard position. Meeks' role was made clear by the fact he did not appear in any of the Wizards' four preseason games against NBA opponents.

Meeks' tenure in Washington was a significant disappointment. The Wizards signed him last summer in hopes he could shore up the shooting guard spot on their bench. 

Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he never earned the trust of his coaching staff. The Wizards opted to rely more heavily on starter Bradley Beal, who logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player last season.

Now, they are moving on.

Meeks leaving the organization should have little effect on the Wizards, though it does leave them with a hole on their roster that needs to be filled. They currently have 13 players, one below the league minimum. The Wizards now have 14 days to add a 14th player.

They could sign a free agent, convert one of their players on two-way contracts (Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae) or make a trade. The Meeks deal gives them a $3.45 million trade exception.


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Dwight Howard practices for first time with Wizards, raising likelihood he plays in opener

Dwight Howard practices for first time with Wizards, raising likelihood he plays in opener

On Monday, for the first time since 2018-19 training camp began, the Wizards were complete.

Dwight Howard, who missed three weeks due to a strained piriformis muscle, participated in his first full practice with his new team. The 32-year-old signed a free agent deal with the Wizards in July, but had yet to take the court due to the injury, which began bothering him shortly before camp began on Sept. 25.

Howard had a setback on Oct. 6 and saw a specialist in New York. He received a pain injection on Tuesday and on Saturday began shooting again.

After clearing that hurdle, he was ready to be a full-go with his new teammates.

"It felt pretty good. I really gotta catch my wind and learn some of the offense. But other than that, it felt pretty good," Howard said of Day 1.

Howard practicing on Monday gives him two more days to work with before the Wizards open their season on Thursday at home against the Miami Heat. Both he and head coach Scott Brooks say it's too early to tell if he will be available.

"We'll see how it feels. I will do everything I can to make myself available for all 82 games," Howard said.

Howard not only has to play himself into game shape, he has to develop chemistry and timing with his new teammates. He missed all five of their preseason games.

If Howard can play, that would certainly be a positive turn of events for the Wizards. As of the end of last week, it seemed highly unlikely he would be ready when the regular season began.

But Howard turned a corner and now appears to be coming along quicker than once expected. 

"It was probably our best practice of training camp," Brooks said Monday after finally getting Howard into the mix.

"He has a natural feel. His IQ was pretty high, I was impressed with that. He picked things up."

Howard signed a two-year contract worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.